How Are Tablet Computers Changing Web Development?

Computer processors get smaller, faster, cheaper as time passes. The inevitable development of what has become known as tablet computers is providing traditional website developers with a new canvas in which to create (or recreate) their online applications and web site destinations.


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One of the most apparent shifts in the thought process of web developers has to be taking advantage of the user interface differences between a table device like the iPad and a laptop or desktop computer. The latter, having different devices to view and input information is a sharp distinction between the all-in-one view/input touch screens most of the latest tablets employ.

The differences in user interface must be taken into consideration along with various platform inconsistencies. For instance, if the web developer expects her users to hover over an element on the web page in order to get popped up information, her app will be far less effective on platforms like Apple’s iPad where there is no capability for such “mouse over” functionality.


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Designers who secretly harbor the desire to redesign the entire world need to learn that changing default control elements via JavaScript or other forced means will not have the desired results on the tablet devices. In the same vein, engineers who choose to create proprietary widgets for their applications may find that the likes of the iPad or Android tablets will have their functional usefulness diminished or completely eliminated.

Partitioning of traditional web pages has evolved along with the advances in web languages and display technologies. Hopefully, the use of <frames> has been completely removed from better developers tool boxes, the concept of partitioning via div code can create challenges on the smaller screens of smart phones and tablet computers.

Easy Navigation

Since most of these handheld devices allow for a user to move around screen real easy via a swiping motion with their finger over the monitor surface, it can be a challenge to have an effective experience with poorly planned pages. If the overall page was designed with a particular monitor resolution, or size, in mind, the smaller tablet screen will challenge the user, often to the point of them giving up and moving on to another destination.

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, provide the developer (who needs to remind the designer) with the ability to code text in such a way as to be more flexible in its display across a number of different platforms. The web is not print where precise control over look and feel comes at the complete expression of the artist/designer’s will.

Traditional website display of content started the process of developers who wanted similar, if not exact, recreations of their pages across the breadth of platforms available. Computer tablets have simply taken that discipline and refined it even further. Certain devices provide users with much more control over the web page than any previous computer system has. Some of this alteration capability happens instantly and automatically. As such, the developer needs to be familiar with how the various tablet platforms work in order to know what to expect when those devices render their pages.

Things To Avoid & Use While Designing for Tablet

Finally, a thought as to the use of Flash animation on sites and applications which may be used via a computer tablet. Don’t. At least not yet. The iPad doesn’t even allow for Flash on its platform. Android based tablets, while they have a form of Flash, seem to be sluggish, and relatively under-promising.

As HTML5 becomes more prevalent among web developers, the need for using Flash diminishes. If one finds themselves with increasing need to produce animation elements that might end up on tablet computers, getting familiar and proficient with the latest coding standards could be a wise investment of time and energy.

Hope you enjoyed the post, do let us know your views how tablets are changing the web development scenario.

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Guest Post by Eric Rivers

Eric Rivers is a freelance writer who is currently working on a project similar to the form template, with options to export PDF to Word.  He enjoys writing on topics ranging from SEO to social media to web design.

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One comment

  • I think that tablets will get better and webmasters will not have to make many changes. It does look like frames will become a thing of the past. Can’t wait for the new Windows7 tablets that will be out soon.